Cubs send Wood after Astros

Cubs send Wood after Astros in Houston

Kerry Wood should feel right at home in Texas.

The right-hander will start on Saturday for the Chicago Cubs in the second game of this three-game showdown against the Houston Astros.

Wood actually grew up closer to Dallas than Houston, but it doesn't matter. He's a Texan. He's in Texas. Should be a good fit.

The right-hander had to leave his last start after five innings because of what he called "crankiness" in his right shoulder. It also was cold the day Wood pitched at Wrigley Field. It won't be cold Saturday unless he's standing in front of an air conditioning vent.

Wood faced the Astros in back-to-back starts last August. He went 4 1/3 innings both times, did not get a decision in the first start on Aug. 22, but took the loss on Aug. 27. He squared off against Roy Oswalt both times, but Oswalt is starting Sunday. Wood gets young Brandon Backe, who has a 5-1 record and 2.88 ERA at Minute Maid Park.

The Cubs were 10-9 against the Astros last year, including a 6-3 record at Minute Maid Park, and have a 1-0 lead in this first meeting of the season.

Pitching matchup
CHC: RHP Kerry Wood
• 1-1, 5.79 ERA in 2005
• 0-1, 10.38 ERA in 2004 vs. HOU

HOU: RHP Brandon Backe
• 1-1, 6.17 ERA in 2005
• 0-1, 6.30 ERA in 2004 vs. CHC

Player to watch
First baseman Derrek Lee has an 11-game hitting streak, and is batting .524 (22-for-42) in that stretch. Lee also has a club-record 27 RBIs this month. He is one game shy of tying his career high, a 12-game hit streak accomplished three times, most recently Aug. 22-Sept. 4, 2002.

"If it's torn and I need surgery, I'm going to the house. I've had three [operations]. To have a third Tommy John surgery, I think you start affecting quality of life down the road for me. I've got kids. I want to be able to see their kids. I want to be able to play golf, I want to be able to fish. Having a third Tommy John and trying to prove I could do it -- mentally you get to the point where enough is enough." -- Cubs pitcher Chad Fox, who will see orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday regarding his elbow

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
Official game notes

On television
• HOU: No TV
• CHC: Comcast Sports Net

On radio
• HOU: KTRH 740 AM
• CHC: WGN 720 AM

Quick hits
Michael Barrett is 2-for-5 against Backe, Jeromy Burnitz is 2-for-3, Lee 1-for-5, Aramis Ramirez 4-for-5 and Corey Patterson 4-for-6. ... Cubs pitcher Joe Borowski will throw a simulated game on Saturday in Houston. ... When Roger Clemens got a hit off Greg Maddux on Friday, it was the first time a 300-game winner recorded a hit off another 300-game winner since 1900. ... The Cubs are 8-2 in one-run games this year.

On deck
• Sunday: at Astros, 1:05 p.m. CT
• Tuesday: at Milwaukee, 7:05 p.m. CT
• Wednesday: at Milwaukee, 7:05 p.m. CT
• Thursday: at Milwaukee, 1:05 p.m. CT

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.